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The Samurai's Daughter (Rei Shimura Series #6)
     

The Samurai's Daughter (Rei Shimura Series #6)

2.7 4
by Sujata Massey
 

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 A new crime–thriller full of suspense from Sujata Massey, the acclaimed author of The Bride's Kimono and The Floating Girl.

Antiques dealer Rei Shimura is in San Francisco visiting her parents and researching a personal project tracing the story of 100 years of Japanese decorative arts through her own family's experience. Her work is

Overview

 A new crime–thriller full of suspense from Sujata Massey, the acclaimed author of The Bride's Kimono and The Floating Girl.

Antiques dealer Rei Shimura is in San Francisco visiting her parents and researching a personal project tracing the story of 100 years of Japanese decorative arts through her own family's experience. Her work is interrupted by the arrival of her boyfriend, lawyer Hugh Glendinning, who is involved in a class action lawsuit on behalf of aged Asian nationals forced to engage in slave labour for Japanese companies during

World War II.

These two projects suddenly intertwine when one of Hugh's clients is murdered and Rei begins to uncover unsavoury facts about her own family's actions during the war. Rei unravels the truth, finds the killer, and at the same time learns about family ties and loyalty and the universal desire to avoid blame.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“Massey deftly weaves fascinating historical and cultural detail into a suspenseful plot.”
Dallas Morning News
“Intricately plotted and filled with Asian lore and customs...spiced with courage and danger.”
Publishers Weekly
All California-born Rei Shimura really wants is to lead her quiet life in Tokyo as an antiques dealer while learning more about her Japanese relatives, but Massey, of course, has other plans for her in this absorbing cross-cultural puzzle, the sixth in the series (after 2001's The Bride's Kimono). On her way home from Washington, D.C., Rei stops in San Francisco to spend Christmas with her parents and do some research on Japanese decorative objects, including some belonging to her family. Her Scottish boyfriend, lawyer Hugh Glendinning, is involved in a reparation case for victims who were used as slave labor by corporations during WWII. Holiday festivities take on an edge when the woman Hugh is in town to question is murdered, Rei uncovers some potentially disturbing information about her own family's role in the war and a young Japanese medical student boarding with the family disappears. All trails seem to lead to Tokyo, where Rei returns to her beloved apartment and her relatives hoping for resolution. She and Hugh, however, soon find themselves embroiled in some very nasty business leading to her deportation back to San Francisco. Massey poses some deeply resonating questions about guilt and responsibility, while Rei faces some universal truths about families, loyalty and dealing with the past no matter how unpleasant it may be. Hugh's Christmas proposal guarantees intriguing complications ahead. Agent, Ellen Geiger. (Mar. 7) FYI: Massey has won Agatha and Macavity awards. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In her sixth appearance after The Bride's Kimono, Rei Shimura, a Japanese American antiques dealer and amateur sleuth, contends with Japanese nationalism and the problems it presents. Lawyer Hugh Glendinning, Rei's on-again, off-again lover, who finally convinces her to accept his marriage proposal, is working on a class-action suit on behalf of Asians who were used as slave laborers by Japanese companies during World War II. Meanwhile, Rei, preparing a Shimura family history, discovers that her great-grandfather not only tutored the young Emperor Hirohito in history and political theory but also wrote textbooks that could have presaged the attack on Pearl Harbor. When a potential plaintiff dies shortly after Hugh interviews her and another former slave laborer is attacked, Rei's sleuthing goes beyond the law, forcing her to put principle and family honor above personal shame in a turn of events that ultimately proves fortuitous. Though this is less light-hearted than earlier entries in Massey's award-winning series, the characters and details of Japanese culture and history are as appealing as ever, and fans will relish this while awaiting the next one. For all mystery collections.-Michele Leber, formerly with Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Catastrophe magnet Rei Shimura (The Bride's Kimono, 2001, etc.) once again attracts trouble, this time while working on something as seemingly innocent as documenting her family's history. When the American-born, Tokyo-based antiques buyer flies home to San Francisco to interview her father Toshiro, a psychiatrist, she finds that he and her shopaholic mother Catherine have graciously taken in a shy medical student, Manami Okada. Toshiro is loathe to discuss a scroll he sold from the Emperor to a forebear, and the ultraconservative Manami is upset when Rei's almost-fiancé, international lawyer Hugh Glendinning, who is mounting a class-action suit seeking reparations from deep-pocketed Japanese companies for the Asians they forced into slave labor and prostitution during WWII, is housed in the bedroom next to her. Then one of Hugh's contacts, former "comfort woman" Rosa Munoz, is murdered; Manami vanishes; and Hugh and Rei must hie back to Tokyo to find the connection. Scarcely one plane behind are greedy lawyer Charles Sharp and his smarmy translator Eric Gan. When Rei's suspicions lead her to burgle their hotel rooms, she's arrested and deported. Back in San Francisco, she puts her antiques savvy to good use in unraveling some of the motives and relationships key to the puzzle as she contemplates her new life as a deportee. For all the densely woven texture, there are a few too many dangling threads. Regrettably, the most interesting of them, the geopolitical ramifications of war reparations, gets short-changed in the end. Agent: Ellen Geiger/Curtis Brown

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060595036
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/06/2004
Series:
Rei Shimura Series , #6
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,251,955
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.76(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Samurai's Daughter

Chapter One

"Way too salty. I bet the chef used instant dashi powder."

My judgment delivered, I laid down the chopsticks I'd used to spear a slippery cube of tofu from the unfortunate miso soup. The Asian-American waitress who'd served us passed by with a smile; apparently, she didn't understand Japanese. Well, this was San Francisco, packed full of people with faces that mirrored the world's races, but who often spoke only English. I guessed that I'd been saved.

"But this soup is so tasty!" Toshiro Shimura, my father, raked a hand through his salt-and-pepper hair. It was cut in a slightly shaggy style typical for a San Francisco psychiatrist -- but was distinctly odd for a Japanese-born, fifty-something man. "Rei-chan, you don't realize how hard it is to find pure Japanese ingredients here. Anyway, I hear that in Japan a lot of the cooks now use bonito powder."

"Not real cooks. I grate bonito fish -- you know, the kind that's so hard that it feels like a piece of wood." I closed my eyes for a minute, feeling nostalgic for the petrified hunk of fish resting in a wooden box in my tiny kitchenette in North Tokyo. "It's worth the extra effort because then the soup tastes like it comes from the sea, not the convenience store. Now, Dad, where were we? The ten grave precepts of Buddhism. The ones your grandfather felt were so important to live by. I thought it was interesting that he had them on display."

"Yes, they were recorded on a calligraphy scroll. I think it originally came from a monastery, but it hung in the office where he worked. Unfortunately, I don't know where it is now."

"Do you recall, approximately, what it said?"

"The precepts. You know them, don't you?"

I rolled my eyes. "I know some of them, but not all. You didn't raise me Buddhist, remember?"

"But you did take an Eastern religions class at Berkeley, yes?"

"It was so long ago, Dad. just tell me. This is an oral history project, not a go-to-the-library project. I remember the first one: Don't kill. The next: Don't steal. And then the one about not lying -- "

"Well, the precept against lying is actually the fourth, not the third, if I remember correctly. And in Japan, it's always been considered allowable to tell certain kinds of lies out of compassion, or because that lie serves a greater good."

"Well, I'd agree with that," I said. "What was the third one, then?"

"It's a precept against sex. Misusing sex, to be exact. That would cover situations such as rape and extramarital sex and -- "

"Fine. Ah, what's number five?" I wasn't going to pursue the subtleties of the Buddhist rule governing sex -- that was just a little too up-close and personal. It had been two years since I'd last come home to San Francisco, and I wanted to leave on as good terms as I'd arrived.

"That, if I remember correctly, is not to give or take drugs."

"But priests drink sake all the time!" I pointed out.

"Well, a person may take sake, but not in an amount to cause intoxication. My grandfather drank sake at supper, but only a single glass."

"Would you say in general that laypeople's interpretations of these rules were looser than that of priests? I mean, Zen priests don't eat meat, but most people in Japan do. But how is it that people are allowed to eat meat, when the first precept is against killing?"

"That's the rule I thought my vegetarian daughter would jump on." My father laughed. "The answer is that killing animals in self-defense, or to eat them, is permitted. It's just not right to kill them for sport."

"Aha. So the basis of the rule is that an animal's life is valued only when it might be threatened with involvement in a game, say hunting or cockfighting," I said. "I'm not sure I agree with that. A death is a death, to me. But the rule certainly provides an interesting look at the Japanese mind."

"The Buddhist mind," my father corrected me. "And as you know, Buddhism has its origins in India, and these laws are known to Buddhists in all nations. They are universal."

I put my notebook aside for a break, because as much as I'd complained about the noodles, I was hungry for them. Actually, my feelings about food, my hometown, and my father were about as mixed up as the Buddhist rules.

San Francisco was a typical tourist's dream, but in my mind it was a far second to Tokyo, my adopted home. Sure, the architecture in San Francisco was superb. But how could you enjoy it with all the rolling power blackouts? My parents' lifestyles had changed dramatically since California had faced its energy crisis -- their huge Victorian home was no longer lit up welcomingly in the evenings, not even now, at Christmas, when my mother once had routinely lit electric candles in all sixty windows.

Tokyo didn't have such problems yet. And when there, it was easy for me to live simply, keeping my appreciation low to the ground, for things like the miniature Shinto shrines decorated with good luck fox statues, and the gracious rows of persimmon trees that line the ugly train tracks. And then, there were the Japanese people: the serene older generation moving through their own private dances of tai chi in the city's small parks, and the serious kindergarten students striding off to school wearing the kind of saucer-shaped hat and tidy uniform that hadn't changed since the 1920s. Not to mention my father's brother, Uncle Hiroshi, Aunt Norie, and my cousin Tom, who had become an important part of my life: so important that I planned to hightail it out of America before December 31 so I wouldn't miss New Year's Day with them ...

The Samurai's Daughter. Copyright © by Sujata Massey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Sujata Massey was a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun and spent several years in Japan teaching English and studying Japanese. She is the author of The Salaryman's Wife, Zen Attitude, The Flower Master, The Floating Girl, The Bride's Kimono, The Samurai's Daughter, The Pearl Diver, and The Typhoon Lover. She lives in Minneapolis.

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The Samurai's Daughter (Rei Shimura Series #6) 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i haven't read this book in while and i must admit that it started out pretty slow for my taste. but it was a good read. and i never knew it was part of a series....so now my bookworm curiosity has peeked and now on mission to read them all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Sujata Massey and have thought that all her prior books in this series were great. But this book was the exception. The story didn't flow at all, and the story line wasn't as good as it could have been. Nonethless I was happy to see where Rei & Hugh's relationship is going.